Do Americans Buy the
Government's 9/11 Story?
August 24, 2012 (with some updated sources inserted more recently)
[Read why the official 9/11 story is fishy for reasons that require no special knowledge or expertise to understand: "The 9/11 Dog that Didn't Bark."]
[Go here to see lots of other reasons to doubt the official 9/11 story.]
What do Americans actually think about the government's 9/11 story? We know the story well--that 19 Arab men under the direction of Osama bin Laden carried out the attack that day, taking the government by surprise.
In 2016 Chapman University did a public opinion survey and found that 54.3% of Americans surveyed said they agree or strongly agree with the statement that the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks.
On September 11, 2006 MSNBC's "Question of the Day"* read: "Do you believe any 9/11 conspiracy theories that indicate the U.S. government was involved?" The three answers one could choose from (and the percent who chose it) were: 1. "Yes, I beleive there's evidence" (58%); 2. "No, that's ridiculous" (30%) and 3. "I'm not sure" (11%). If you go to the above link you can read how MSNBC tried to hide this embarassing result.
The MSNBC results are not, of course, based on a scientifically selected random sample. But there are scientific poll results too.
The 9/11 Truth people have on several occasions paid the independent scientific poll company, Zogby, to carry out scientific opinion polls. Here are some of the results:
In a 2004 poll* of New York City residents, taken on the eve of the Republican National Convention in that city, half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall said that some of our leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act."
In a 2006 poll of Americans, 42 percent of those surveyed said they believe there has been a cover up of the facts by the government.
In a 2007 poll of Americans, more than 30 percent said that Congress should start impeachment proceedings against both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (26%), just Bush (1.9%), or just Cheney (2.9%). This was in response to the following question: "Some groups on both the right and left are now petitioning Congress to impeach the President and/or the Vice President. Based on your own knowledge of George Bush's and Dick Cheney's conduct regarding war policy, detainee treatment, domestic surveillance, the 9/11 attacks and Congressional investigations, which one of the following comes closest to your opinion?"
The same poll asked what is clearly the most controversial question of all in the context of 9/11: "There are three main schools of thought regarding the 9/11 attacks. The first theory is the official story, and maintains that 19 Arab fundamentalists executed a surprise attack which caught US intelligence and military forces off guard. The second theory known as Let It Happen argues that certain elements in the US government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military and economic motives; and the third theory Made It Happen contends that certain US government elements actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks. Based upon your knowledge of 9/11 events and their aftermath, which theory are you more likely to agree with?"
Only 63.6 percent of Americans answered "Official story" despite the fact that there is not a single mainstream newspaper, radio station, magazine or organization that challenges the official story--not one! "Let it happen" was selected by 26.4% and "Made it happen" by 4.6%, with 5.4% saying "Not sure." In other words approximately 31% of all Americans think that our government either deliberately let 9/11 happen or made it happen!
(A different poll in 2006 gave similar results: "A poll from July 2006, sponsored by Scripps Howard and conducted by Ohio University, surveyed 1,010 randomly selected citizens of the United States, with a margin of error of 4 percent. The survey found that 36 percent thought it somewhat or very likely that U.S. officials either participated in the attacks or took no action to stop them because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East." [source: wikipedia here.])
"In November 2007, Scripps Howard surveyed 811 Americans about their beliefs in several conspiracy theories and asked this question:
How about that some people in the federal government had specific warnings of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, but chose to ignore those warnings. Is this very likely, somewhat likely or unlikely?
32% "Very Likely"
30% "Somewhat Likely"
8% "Don't Know/Other"" [source: wikipedia here]
If 31% or 36% or even 62% of Americans (depending on which poll one uses) so completely rejected (or were at least highly skeptical of) the official 9/11 story back in 2007, it is reasonable to assume the percentage is even larger today, as more and more evidence against the official story is reaching more and more people.
The Revolutionary Significance of the Public's 9/11 Skepticism
The significance of these public opinion results is that they demonstrate that there is a reason to be hopeful about the possibility of building a revolutionary movement to remove the ruling class from power. And they show that the cynics are wrong who have a profoundly negative view of Americans and write about them with language such as this:
"Ever more docile, ignorant, disinformed, xenophobic, acceptive of fascism...we have hands bloodier by the day from being party to an expanding palette of war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Acquiescence to neocon barbarity has left our hands—even our souls?—with stains that might never wear off."
The fact that Americans, with zero support from any mainstream organization of any kind, nonetheless expressed such substantial disagreement with the government's 9/11 story and such substantial support for impeaching Bush and Cheney for their warmongering, shows how difficult it is for the ruling class to get Americans to believe its lies. It is far more important to know that there is something about most Americans that makes it so difficult for the ruling class to persuade them of its lies, than it is to know that the ruling class has had some success with its massive propaganda apparatus. Why? Because it is only the former that provides the basis for hope that we can build a revolutionary movement to defeat the ruling class and make a better world. Let's see how this is so.
The thing about Americans that makes so many reject, or be skeptical of, the lies is their basic decency and common sense. Also, the thing that causes most other Americans to accept the lies is not at all the same as the motive of the ruling class in spreading the lies. The ruling class spreads the lies in order to dominate, oppress and exploit people, to make the world unequal and protect their wealth and privleges. Ordinary people, on the other hand, believe the lies mainly because in their personal experience they don't know anybody who would lie for such an evil purpose as to wage an unjust war, and so they assume that government leaders must be telling the truth. Some people probably say they believe the lies but really don't; they are afraid that if they spoke their mind they would be ostracized by society--not an unreasonable fear given the fact that all mainstream organizations equate non-support of the "war on terror" with being a dangerous traitor and supporter of terrorism.
What the cynics fail to see is that the basic decency and common sense of most Americans, their valuing equality and their concern for one another, are the reasons why Americans would, if not controlled by a capitalist ruling class with the opposite values and aims, create a far more equal and democratic society that did not wage unjust wars. A revolutionary movement needs to nurture and strengthen these aspects of ordinary Americans; give them self-confidence in the face of a hostile ruling class; let them know they are not as few as the ruling class wants them to believe they are, and that they have strength in numbers; provide them with organization and ideological coherence.
These are all tasks that revolutionaries need to do. They involve nurturing something that already exists in the American public. The cynics, however, despite their anger at what the ruling class does, will not do these necessary things because their negative view of people, as "Ever more docile, ignorant, disinformed, xenophobic, acceptive of fascism," lacks any appreciation of the positive aspects of people, is blind to the fact that there is anything at all to nourish and strengthen, and makes it absurd to even attempt doing what a revolutionary movement needs to do. The cynics' negative view of people leads them to write about how bad things are, but not to think realistically about building a revolutionary movement. The result is unfortunately to build despair. What we need, on the contrary, is to see the actual basis for hope in the positive aspects of ordinary people.
* In 2012 I had links to the actual polling companies' web sites showing these results, but in the intervening years these links became broken.